Monday, February 16, 2004

“To Be That Self Which One Truly Is” 

I was planning to write a little further about that metaphor of the logs in the dam (from a couple of days ago), and was looking for a particular quote from Carl Rogers, originator of the person-centred approach to counseling and therapy. But as is the way of things, looking for one quote, I found another, perhaps even more relevant. Rogers is talking here about trusting one’s own sense of being, and how this trust in the uniqueness of self allows truly original creativity to flourish. So if you’re worried that your writing doesn’t match up to someone else’s standards, take heart. According to Rogers, you’re in good company. Just stay with it and listen to what Rogers elsewhere calls “the deepest recesses of [your] physiological and emotional being.”

Toward Trust of Self
“Watching my clients, I have come to a much better understanding of creative people. El Greco, for example, must have realised as he looked at some of his early work, that “good artists do not paint like that.” But somehow he trusted his own experiencing of life, the process of himself, sufficiently that he could go on expressing his own unique perceptions. It was as though he could say, “Good artists do not paint like this, but I paint like this.” Or to move to another field, Ernest Hemingway was surely aware that “good writers do not write like this.” But fortunately he move toward being Hemingway, being himself, rather than toward some one else’s conception of a good writer. Einstein seems to have been unusually oblivious to the fact that good physicists did not think his kind of thoughts. Rather than drawing back because of his inadequate academic preparation in physics, he simply moved toward being Einstein, toward thinking his own thoughts, toward being as truly and deeply himself as he could. This is not a phenomenon which occurs only in the artist or the genius. Time and again in my clients, I have seen simple people become significant and creative in their own spheres, as they have developed more trust of the processes going on within themselves, and have dared to feel their own feelings, live by values which they discover within, and express themselves in their own unique ways.”

Carl Rogers, in an essay from “On becoming a person”, titled “To Be That Self Which One Truly Is”

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